I am so honored to feature two of my very favorite people in today's blog post: my dad and my mom! Today is an incredibly special day for our family because it marks my parents' 50th wedding anniversary! Congratulations on 50 years of marriage well spent, Mom and Dad!
Their love story is so sweet: Country Boy is drafted into military service. While overseas serving, he becomes friends with City Girl's cousin who mentions "the cute girl back home" Country Boy should write letters to. So, Country Boy and City Girl become pen pals, getting to know each other via good old snail mail for ten months. Country Boy dutifully completes his years of service to our country, is discharged, and books flight home - neglecting to inform his parents of a brief addition to his travel itinerary to meet his City Girl! Their first date was to see "The Sound of Music." A long-distance romance ensued, with only eleven actual in-person dates before my father's marriage proposal. They had a lovely winter wedding in the city (Valentine's colors: red and white), and then City Girl and Country Boy traveled cross-country to move City Girl to the country - which according to my mom was a dream-come-true, as she'd always wanted to be a Country Girl!
So many sweet elements to their story: My mom recalls the first time she laid eyes on her pen pal - how handsome he looked deboarding the plane that first visit. My dad recalls how beautiful my Mom was walking up the church aisle in her wedding dress, and how he was relieved that the pastor had instructed him to repeat the vows after him because he would have been speechless otherwise! Fifty years, five kids, and fourteen grandchildren later; and they are still in love!
My parents are not perfect people or perfect mates. They have their fair share of arguments, like all other couples, and they have gone through many hardships and stressful times, like everyone else. Yet their commitment to each other and to our family has stood the test of time.
I asked my parents a few years ago to reveal to me their secrets to a good marriage. Both of them attributed their mutual faith in God as the key to the success of their marriage - putting their trust in Him and practicing forgiveness of others as He forgave them. Honesty and working hard at their relationship has also played an important role in their happiness. My dad mentioned also the importance of taking time to enjoy each other each day rather than getting too wrapped up in one's work. Nearly every day of their marriage, they have both stopped their work at their farm at scheduled, intentional times to eat meals together and to enjoy both a morning and afternoon cup of coffee, and more importantly - conversation together. That's an important truth: the work will always be there, but the relationship needs tending as well.
When I think about the way my parents have lived their lives, I believe their generosity is also an essential component that has contributed to the strength of their marriage. They are always there for each other, pray for each one of their children and grandchildren every day, and each of them are the first to volunteer when a neighbor, friend, or family member needs a helping hand. As my dad said to me once: "When you focus on other people, you don't think of your own aches and pains." Living for others, not for self. That's my parents. They are unified in their generosity and love for others.
I can only hope to celebrate 50 years with my husband someday, and I pledge to enjoy our many anniversaries along the way. I thank my parents for the example of a strong, committed marriage they have lived and modeled for my siblings and me and their grandchildren, the love and joy they inspire in others, and the legacy of faith and generosity they have given our family.
Dad & Mom, enjoy today and may you have many more Happy Anniversaries! What a blessing it is to be your kid! I love you!